Passwords have been the standard authentication method for decades. However, with the growing prevalence of cyberattacks and data breaches, passwords are no longer as secure as they once were. Cybercriminals have become increasingly adept at stealing or guessing passwords, posing a significant threat to sensitive accounts and systems. This is why more and more businesses are shifting to passwordless authentication.
What is passwordless authentication, and how does it work?
Passwordless authentication is a way of verifying a user's identity without having them enter a password. Instead, users are authenticated using alternative factors, such as:
- Biometrics: Biometrics refers to physical characteristics unique to an individual, such as fingerprints or facial features. To log in using biometrics, users simply scan their fingerprint or face.
- One-time passwords (OTPs): OTPs are temporary codes generated and sent to the user's device, often via SMS or email. The user must enter the OTP to finish the login process.
- Security keys: Security keys are physical devices that generate unique codes when inserted into a computer or mobile device. Users enter the generated code for authentication.
Why should your business use passwordless authentication?
By implementing passwordless authentication, your business can enjoy the following benefits:
Passwordless authentication factors are more difficult to steal than passwords. Biometric data is unique to each person, making it difficult to forge.
Moreover, with passwordless authentication, there is no risk of compromising sensitive data through password breaches, as biometric data and OTPs are not typically stored on servers in the same way passwords are. Biometric data is typically stored on the user's device, and OTPs are generated on the user's device or sent to the user via a secure channel. This means that even if a cybercriminal manages to breach a server, they would not have access to any sensitive authentication data.
With passwordless authentication, users do not have to remember complex passwords. They can simply use their biometrics, OTPs, or security keys for quick, hassle-free logins. This can improve user satisfaction and productivity.
Reduced IT costs
Passwordless authentication can lead to significant cost savings by eliminating the need for password resets and reducing the number of password-related security incidents. In turn, this can free up IT resources for more critical tasks.
Read also: Are passwords dead?
Which type of passwordless authentication is right for your business?
The best type of passwordless authentication for your business will depend on your unique needs and preferences. When choosing a passwordless authentication method, consider the following factors:
If security is your top priority, biometrics or security keys are the best passwordless authentication methods for your business. However, biometrics can be more expensive and may not be compatible with all devices. They are also a more personal form of authentication, so some users may be hesitant to use them.
Security keys, on the other hand, can be more expensive than other methods and may not be as convenient for users who have to carry these around with them.
Convenience and cost
If convenience and affordability are more important, OTPs may be a better choice. OTPs can be sent to any device, and they are relatively easy to implement. However, OTPs can be less secure than biometrics, and they can be inconvenient, as they require users to check their phone or email every time they log in.
There are two main types of passwordless authentication deployment: on-premises and cloud-based.
- On-premises deployment involves installing and managing the passwordless authentication infrastructure onto your own servers. This gives you more control over your security, but the process can be highly complex and expensive.
- Cloud-based deployment involves subscribing to a third-party passwordless authentication service. This is typically the easier and more affordable option, but it means that you will be entrusting your security to a third party.
Make sure that the passwordless authentication method you choose is compatible with all of your devices and systems. Some passwordless authentication methods, such as biometrics, may not work on all devices. Others, such as OTPs, may require a specific type of device or software to be installed.
The IT experts at Quicktech can help you choose, implement, and manage a passwordless authentication solution that’s right for your business. Book a FREE consultation with us today.